Curious about trekking poles but don’t know where to start?
This post has you covered.
We will review the basics and provide you with several options, all for under $60 to get you started!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through a link, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read full disclosure here.
- The Cheap & Basic Trekking Pole
- Best Budget Aluminum Trekking Poles (Under $40)
- Tips on Grips: Cork, Foam, or Rubber?
- Aluminum vs. Carbon Fiber
- Best Budget Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles (Under $60)
- Tips on Length: Telescoping vs. Collapsible
- Best Lightweight Trekking Poles
- Using Your New Poles
These are the best budget trekking poles for 2021
If you’re like me, when I first searched REI’s website for a pair of trekking poles I was floored at the prices!
$120 walking sticks? No thanks.
Fortunately, I was able to find a decent set on Amazon and I absolutely love them.
Do I use them every single time I hike?
But they are great to have on long hikes, especially when hiking downhill. Or when trying to walk across slick rocks to get that perfect waterfall picture.
Keep reading to find your perfect pair of beginner poles.
The Cheap & Basic Trekking Pole
If you’re looking for a cheap, basic trekking pole, these Bafx Products aluminum poles have great ratings on Amazon and seem like they will do the job.
These poles expand from 26.5″ to 53.25″ and come in 3 color options.
Note that these poles are considered “heavy” for trekking poles, weighing 12.4 ounces per pole. The grips are also not cork, which most people prefer.
If you aren’t concerned with weight or the handles being cork, these could be good entry-level trekking poles.
Best Budget Aluminum Trekking Poles (Under $40)
These next 3 are, in my opinion, the best trekking poles for beginners.
They are adjustable, have cork grips, come in a variety of colors and also come with a carrying bag and accessories. Like a nice little trekking pole starter pack.
These telescoping aluminum trekking poles adjust from 25.5 to 54 inches. The cork handles mold to your hand and wick away moisture.
They come in 8 color options and include interchangeable tip accessories, such as rubber tips and snow baskets.
With almost 5000 5-star reviews, these are some of the best budget trekking poles on the market right now.
The previously mentioned trekking poles are telescoping. These TREKOLOGY Trek-Z Trekking Poles are collapsible, making them just 15″ when collapsed. This makes it easy to carry them in your hiking backpack. (I own these and they fit PERFECTLY in the side pockets of my Osprey 24L backpack).
These trekking poles come in two lengths: 100cm-120cm (works best for people <5’8″) and 115cm-135cm (best for those >5’9″). The TREKOLOGY poles also have cork handles with foam on the shaft below. Tip accessories are included and each pole only weighs 11oz.
If you are hiking in terrain that is ever-changing, these 9.4oz aluminum Foxelli poles are for you.
In addition to their cork handles, they have foam BELOW the handles that allow you to “choke down” when you would need shorter poles (for instance, hiking uphill).
Expanding from 24 to 55 inches, the Foxelli trekking poles are telescoping, come with tip accessories, but only come in 3 color choices.
Tip: All 3 of the above trekking poles should be under $40. Don’t buy right now if they aren’t!
Tips on Grips: Cork, Foam, or Rubber?
You will notice that most trekking poles offer cork grips/handles.
Cork molds to your hand, wicks away moisture from sweat, and decreases vibration.
Foam grips are soft and comfortable but do not withstand the test of time.
Rubber grips are durable, less sensitive to cold weather, but can quickly blister sweaty hands.
Cork has proved to be the most popular among those who use trekking poles!
Aluminum vs. Carbon Fiber
For high-stress activities and changing terrain, aluminum is the way to go. Aluminum is lightweight, resistant to rust, not impacted by temperature, and can bend rather well without breaking.
Carbon fiber is very lightweight and strong, but can easily break if even slightly bent, especially in lower temperatures. Being lightweight and not vibrating when hitting a hard surface are the advantages of carbon fiber over aluminum. You can buy trekking poles with stronger epoxy, making the carbon fiber poles stronger & less sensitive to the cold, but you are going to pay a lot more money for them.
If you will be using trekking poles mostly as walking poles and want something very lightweight, carbon fiber trekking poles may be the best option for you.
Best Budget Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles (Under $60)
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles
These Cascade Mountain Tech carbon fiber telescoping trekking poles are only 7.8 ounces each. They expand from 26″ to 54″, have cork handles, foam grips below the handles, and come with tip accessories.
They are top-rated on Amazon and have over 1400 positive reviews.
Foxelli Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
These Foxelli carbon fiber poles are also telescoping, with cork handles, foam, and come with tip accessories.
The Foxelli poles weigh in just a bit lighter, weighing 7.6 ounces each.
UPDATE: Amazon has recently increased the price of these about $10, but frequently will have them on sale for $10 off. If you are set on these and can wait, hold off until they are on “sale” and back to their original price of less than $60!
Tips on Length: Telescoping vs. Collapsible
Owning telescoping poles or collapsible poles is purely a personal preference. However, keep in mind that historically, trekking poles have NOT been allowed in carryon baggage. If you will be traveling by plane and have a small checked bag, you will want to consider collapsible trekking poles.
If you are not worried about having to pack them, telescoping poles should work just fine for you. Even if they are too long for your hiking backpack, most can easily be strapped to the outside of your pack.
Make sure they will adjust to the appropriate height too! When your hands are on the grips, your hands should be in line with your elbows, creating almost a 90-degree angle between your upper arm and forearm.
Best Lightweight Trekking Poles
Hiker Hunger Aluminum Trekking Poles
These aluminum trekking poles by Hiker Hunger weigh just 7.5 ounces per pole! They have cork grips, foam sleeves, and come with tip accessories. The poles are telescoping and extend from 24″ to 54″.
TheFitLife Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
These carbon fiber poles from TheFitLife weigh just 7.04 ounces per pole!
This is the lightest pole we’ve talked about thus far. They have cork handles, foam sleeves, come in 4 color choices and tip accessories are included.
These hiking poles are telescoping and expand from 24″ to 53″.
Using Your New Poles
No matter what material you choose for a hiking stick, make sure you use them properly in order to get maximum benefit.
Creating that 90-degree angle we mentioned earlier, make sure your grip is aligned with your elbows. Use the poles as an extension of your arms.
Poles can be shortened accordingly for hiking uphill and heightened for hiking downhill.
Putting your hands through the straps properly is something many people get wrong. If you want to learn how to properly use the straps and trekking poles in general, watch the first 10 minutes of this YouTube video about how to use your new poles.
Whether walking or hiking, I hope this post taught you something new about trekking poles and helped you decide which ones to get! To go beyond the basics and more in-depth, read this REI article.